Editors’ Note: Mariah Proctor has just returned from four months of study abroad at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.
It’s my third day in my new apartment and, in this lovely Provo heat, our air conditioning has already puttered out. It’s easy to think, “Dang, in Jerusalem we never had issues with our air conditioning – would that I were back there.” But Jerusalem had its share of hitches (not the least of which was our black hole of a bedroom, where everything got misplaced and some things never were found again).
Oh, college. I forgot how depressing it is to be cut off and all independent (I say this, having never been really alone a day in my life). After moving in and finding our room somehow three times too small for the amount of stuff we each brought with us and completely impossible to organize into a semblance of tidiness, we took off for our first official attempt at legit grocery shopping.
My roommate and I have each already been in college for a year, but we had meal plans last year, which meant there was an allotted amount of monopoly money given to us each week for food. Deciding what to spend money on or whether to spend money at all was never the nail-biting dilemma that it is now.
We got into the grocery store with the intention to just get a few basic necessities, but by the time we got past the redbox DVD rental and the gaudy displays of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and donettes we’d completely forgotten our purpose in being there.
I haven’t taken math since junior year, but I didn’t think I’d lost my skills to the point of simple equations giving me a migraine. We probably spent twenty minutes in the dairy aisle trying to decide whether it was better to buy 10 yogurts for 7 dollars or 20 yogurts for 10 dollars. The answer is stupidly obvious, but more importantly it was not worth wasting twenty minutes of my life that I will never get back.
It’s such a funny experience to be making routine decisions with this friend who has never been my roommate, because we’ve both so polite and indecisive that nothing gets decided and progression in any direction is all but impossible. I’ve started to realize, though, that when she asks me things my automatic response is often, “Whatever; I don’t really care.” Now, to be fair, she doesn’t have to put things to my vote as often as she does, but the amount of times I’m hearing myself say “I don’t care” is starting to disturb me.
I looked at my experience in Jerusalem as really teaching me to give a dam. I’m not just butchering the spelling and being profane; what I mean is that Jerusalem taught me to dam up my otherwise rushing waters and pool somewhere so that I could learn to stop and care about things and be a more useful and productive entity to those around me.
So, why is it that I find myself saying, “I don’t care” more then almost any other phrase in my vernacular? I realized tonight after talking it out with my brother who was in the holy city with me, that we’ve done the coolest thing we could ever do with our time. Now that it’s over it’s hard to find it in your heart to really have an opinion on whether the DVDs should be organized alphabetically or by genre.
Nothing I’m being called upon to have an opinion on here seems to matter much when compared to what I’ve just felt and seen and heard. I know that I can’t just live like this because this is my life again and these are the things that I need to just go ahead and make decisions on, but the transition period is bumming me out and I’m sitting here after sunset waiting for the call to prayer that I know I’m not going to hear.